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Hello, I got caught shoplifting at a major retail store. The lady told me that if I tell them everything I wont get arrested.

Canoga Park, CA |

They say the amount was for $450 but it was not. Also, the lady acted as if she wont sorry for me and asked if I tell her what happenned and why I did it that shw would not call the police. Which I admitted i did it and she called the police anyway. The officer arrested me , then let me go with a citation and told me a would have to appear in court. What should I do next? Should I get a lawyer? or should I wait for the letter to come in the mail??

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Attorney answers 7


If you were cited to appear in court, you are likely to going to be charged with a crime. Van Nuys isn't a place to "do it yourself" You should get a lawyer ASAP. If you got a citation, that's your order to appear. You're not likely to get a letter in the mail, unless it's from a collections company. Don't pay that. The court isn't likely to send you a letter because you have a citation to appear. Many of us on AVVO offer free consultations, but you should certainly get a lawyer. Theft cases are serious.

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Is there any way of not getting charged for a crime? This is my first time and last time! I do not have anything on my record.


Yes. If you are able to, hire an experienced lawyer to help you deal with the situation. I would interview lawyers now so you have time to pick one that fits will with you as a client.


You certainly have an advantage if you hire a lawyer. You should have been given a court date on your citation. If not, you should receive notice in the mail. In any event, you must appear at your hearing or a warrant will be issued, turning a manageable situation into one that is more troublesome.


You will need a lawyer. Unfortunately the store was less than honest with you. The amount in question will determine what you are charged with and you will be charged. Best you get with counsel as soon as possible to see if there is a way to work a settlement with the store before you get the letter. Either way you will need counsel. If you would like, we offer a free one time phone consult. feel free to give us a call.

Brian Michaels
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney


Yes you need an attorney. Van Nuys takes these charges seriously. Get an attorney- you should not try and handle this yourself.



You should start looking for an attorney if you are able to. You will likely be charged for the theft and will need an attorney at some point to help you deal with this matter. If you're unable to hire an attorney on your own, you have the option of waiting until your arraignment where the court will assign a public defender to you if you qualify.

I'm not sure what letter you're referring to, but, if possible, you should start looking for counsel now and not wait for anything.

Nothing said here shall be construed as legal advice. I can not effectively advise about your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, my response does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you require further assistance, please contact an attorney privately.


Sometimes a letter does not come in (most of the times) and you must appear in court the date on your citation. $450 is a fairly big number for petty theft and you are looking at pretty harsh punishment. Getting a lawyer could make a huge difference in the outcomes.